For a long time, Batman was actually my fav DC hero (or anti-hero if you like), but he was swiftly pushed to the outer fringes when Superman really came on the scene for me. Then there was Wonder Woman, and he was pushed again… but that doesn’t mean he is not still a beloved hero – and there have been A LOT of actors and portrayals of this character over the years.
So, let’s look at who is MY tip of the top Batman iterations…
Adam West – “Holy Guacamole Batman!“
I know some out there don’t view the 60s TV show as a “serious” iteration of Batman, but I think it’s certainly the most fun! Adam West managed to put humour into a pretty dark character (especially in some of the later renditions and comics), while also maintaining the hero qualities that Batman holds. I LOVE listening to the Superman radio show from the 40s, and every time that Batman guest appears, he has an element of not taking himself too seriously, while also being able to save the day and fight crime. Yes, the stunts are a little outdated and the storylines aren’t quite as high stakes as we get now, but I maintain that it’s something that comic readers (which used to actually been teens and pre-teens) could ACTUALLY watch without being scarred for life.
Christian Bale – “As a symbol I can be incorruptible”
Speaking of being scarred by Batman… that Scarecrow man!! I watched Batman Begins in a media class in school, otherwise I never would have found my way into the Superhero franchise at all. So, for that I owe this movie many hours and at least a decade later of hero enjoyment. I liked the way Christian Bale made the character darker than West had, and some of the predecessors (which are included somewhere in this list). He gave Batman an on screen darkness that I think layered the character more than had come previously, and for this character it works! He was a GREAT Bruce, which is a HUGE element of who Batman is, and not everyone on this list made both characters work – but Christian did.
Ben Affleck – “Tell me. Do you bleed?”
Okay, bit of a controversial opinion (that I’ve heard of) but I actually liked Ben as Batman. I think he did a good job, and his lower voice resonance WORKED for that Batman tenor. I think it was hard for him, jumping into the middle of things without an establishing movie, except to fight Superman (let’s face it that was a ridiculous idea anyway… who can win, the dude with gadgets or the superhuman alien who could literally melt his face off any time he chose? Come on, without that big monster thing, Superman would have won hands down, even with his moral compass). I would have liked to see Ben do more movies, but alas it was not meant to be.
Robert Pattinson – I can’t believe he’s making my list… (not a quote)
I am frustrated that Pattinson makes my list of the GOOD Batman imaginings, because his Bruce was horrendous. The only reason he made it on this list, is because of the BATMAN side of his performance. Bruce Wayne for me, is supposed to feel like the opposite of Batman. Someone you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to be a crime fighting hero, someone who has money and uses it to make the world a better place while being somewhat charming and involved in the social scene. That’s why it works as an alter ego – because it’s nothing like the brooding and depressingly violent Batman. I felt Robby here just played the same character except sometimes he wore a mask and sometimes he didn’t. HOWEVER, I will admit that in what I have seen, his Batman does kick ass… so there’s that. Guess he’s not shiny anymore.
George Clooney – “What is Batman? An attempt to control death itself.”
Okay, I hear the ridiculous laughter or slapping of foreheads in my inclusion of Clooney’s Batman in the top part of this list, but hear me out! Again, we got to have a little more of a lighter side to Batman when Clooney donned the cowl, and I’m here for it. They really leaned in to the more “comic” aesthetic, and I honestly don’t know how we can fault them for that. Batman is a comic book character… so yeah. For all the shortcomings, at the end of the day he made it onto my list for one very big reason… He’s George. Freakin. Clooney, people!
So there are some Batmen that I haven’t actually SEEN myself, but I know they have been the caped avenger before… I don’t really have much to say about these guys but I decided they deserve a shout out, so here are some mentions for those that have come before…
The AMAZING Animated Voices
Well, there’s the list – anything but extensive so if you have a FAV Batman, let us all know why in the comments!
See You in the Adventures